Mousse and Squirrel… “Squirrel!!”

I know, mixing cartoons is never a good idea, but I couldn’t resist. Boris Badenov was never successful at deceiving Rocky and Bullwinkle, despite trying every week and oddly, neither Moose nor Squirrel recognized them time after time. The second Squirrel in the title is and a wink to “UP” and a nod to how easy it is to be distracted from what is important.

Originally, I was thinking about making a key-lime mousse, but then saw this recipe for a margarita mouse and pounced like a dog on a chew toy. I saw the raspberry and chocolate moussessess, or meece on GBBO (not their recipes) and decided to add a variety of mousse to my file, and I love raspberries, and chocolate is the universal food so why not?

I wanted to use recipes that do not use gelatin to make the mousse. I try very hard not to use gelatin to keep as much as possible vegetarian. From what I found authentic french mousse does not use gelatin, and neither to I.

Margarita Mousse

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1⁄2 fresh lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons orange liqueur, such as Triple Sec
  • 3 tablespoons tequila
  • 1⁄3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup whipping cream

METHOD

  1. Combine sugar with 1 tsp lime zest. Rub the rims of 4-6 margarita glasses with lime wedges to moisten, crunch into granulated sugar mixture, and place in the freezer.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine remaining lime zest, condensed milk, Triple Sec, tequila, and 1/3 cup lime juice. Set aside.
  3. Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into tequila mixture, working carefully to keep the air in the whipped cream.
  4. Spoon into prepared frozen glasses, making sure not to disturb the sugared rims.
  5. Refrigerate for 4 hours or until firm.

Chocolate Mousse

INGREDIENTS

  • 200-250g 70%+ cacao chocolate (more is better for stability)
  • 400g heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg yolk

METHOD

  1. melt chocolate in a baine-marie
  2. whip cream
  3. whip egg yolk in a baine-marie until fluffy *
  4. mix the chocolate into the egg yolk
  5. carefully fold the cream into the chocolate
  6. refrigerate 3-4 hours

This mousse will set after a few hours in the fridge.

Raspberry Mousse

INGREDIENTS

  • 400g fresh raspberries
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 medium egg whites
  • 300g heavy whipping cream
  • icing sugar to dust

METHOD

  1. Reserving some raspberries for decoration, place the remainder in a pan with 50g of the caster sugar and cook on a medium heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring until the fruit collapses.
  2. To make a coulis, place a fine sieve over a bowl and pass the fruit through to de-seed. Cool for 10 minutes, then keep in the fridge until needed.
  3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar for 2-3 minutes or until stiff peaks form.
  4. Whisk the cream until it forms soft floppy peaks.
  5. Add 2-3 tbs of the coulis to the cream and stir very gently until nicely mixed. Once mixed add in the rest of the coulis until well incorporated.
  6. With a metal spoon gently fold one large spoon of egg white mixture into the coulis and cream mixture. Mix very gently until all incorporated. Repeat until all egg white is mixed in.
  7. Gently divide the mixture between 6 glasses or mugs. Chill for 4-5 hours. To serve, decorate with raspberries, dust with icing sugar.
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Mah Jong Snacks Anyone?

Last week Fran’s mah jongg group met at our house. While they tend not to each very much before, during or after their games, but I was asked to make something for this week. I had not made pan au chocolat in quite a while and had just seen this recipe for Oreo macarons online. There were very few of anything left.

 

Macarons and Pain Au Chocolat

 

 

 

 

 

Pain au Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

  • Puff pastry
  • Chocolate
  • Confectioner’s sugar

METHOD

  1. Roll out puff pastry
  2. Dust with confectioner’s sugar
  3. Cut into 2” wide
  4. Lay chocolate at one end, roll one time, press down gently and roll again, press gently again
  5. Add second row of chocolate and roll one last time, press gently
  6. Chill overnight
  7. Brush with egg wash
  8. Bake 360 deg 20-25 min on parchment lined baking sheet

Oreo Macarons

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 eggs whites, room temperature
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup superfine almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoons black food coloring
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 1 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • ½ cup cookies and cream filling
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature (takes about 2 hours to reach room temp)
    • 4 oz. salted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 cups powdered sugar

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 285ºF/140ºC.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy.
  3. Keep beating and slowly add sugar until stiff peaks form.
  4. Sift powdered sugar, cookie crumbs, almond flour, and cocoa powder over the egg whites.
  5. Fold the dry mixture into the egg whites completely, but make sure to not overmix or the macarons will not rise.
  6. Once the batter reaches a lava-like consistency, add the food coloring. Mix until just combined, without over mixing.
  7. Place the mixture into a piping bag or zip-top bag. Cut of the tip to pipe.
  8. Pipe 1½-inch dollops onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Tip: take a little batter to “glue” down the edges of the parchment paper so it stays put.
  9. Let the cookies rest at room temperature for 30 minutes to an hour, until they are no longer wet to the touch and a skin forms on top.
  10. While resting, make the filling
    1. Cream together the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until smooth.
    2. Mix in the powdered sugar until smooth.
  11. When the cookies are dry to the touch, bake for 15-18 minutes until they have risen.
  12. Let rest for 10 minutes before filling. To fill, pipe about about a tablespoon of the buttercream onto one macaron and place another on top.
  13. Macarons are best kept refrigerated until serving.

Tilt-a-whirl Down on the South Beach Drag

The other day, Fran watched Biscuit Week on the GBBO (I had fallen asleep on the couch) and decided Mary Berry’s Viennese Whirls might be a good next bake for me;  I made them this morning and will take them to Daniel and France’s house to day for our day-after Father’s Day dinner.

Baked Whirls

These resemble shortbread cookies/biscuits with raspberry jam and buttercream filling. The cookie should be firm enough to handle, but soft enough to melt in your mouth with each bite. The trick is to adjust the viscosity of the dough to allow it to be piped into 2″ diameter circles using a star tip. To accentuate the whirl shape and  texture, chill the piped biscuits in the refrigerator for 15 minutes before baking. (I didn’t do this and they lost some height and swirl detail.)

 

I was also making some raspberry jam, so I just sieved some to use for the cookies. I also added some meringue powder to help the buttercream harden a little to make the filling a little firmer without having to keep them refrigerated.

 

Completed Whirls

INGREDIENTS

For the jam

  • 200g (7oz) raspberries
  • 250g (9oz) jam sugar

For the biscuits

  • 250g (9oz) very soft unsalted butter
  • 50g (1¾oz) icing sugar
  • 225g (8oz) plain flour
  • 25g (1oz) cornstarch

For the filling

  • 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 200g (7oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbl Meringue Powder

METHOD

For the jam,

  1. Put the washed raspberries in a small, deep-sided saucepan and crush them using a potato masher. Add the sugar and bring to boil over a low heat. When the sugar is melted, increase the heat and boil further for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour into a shallow container (pass it through a sieve if you’d rather not have seeds in your jam). Leave to cool and set.

For the biscuits,

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Line 3 baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment. Using a 2″ round cutter as a guide, draw circles on each sheet of paper, spaced well apart. Turn the paper over so the pencil marks are underneath.
  2. Measure the butter and icing sugar into a bowl and beat until pale and fluffy. Sift in the flour and cornstarch and beat well, until thoroughly mixed. Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a medium star nozzle. Pipe 24 swirled rounds (not rosettes), inside the circles on the baking sheets.
  3. Bake in the center of the oven for 13—15 minutes, until a pale golden-brown. Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and harden.

For the filling,

  1. measure the butter into a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top.
  2. Add the vanilla extract and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until very light and smooth.
  3. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.

Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of 12 of the biscuits and place jam-side up on a cooling rack. Pipe the buttercream over the jam and sandwich with the remaining biscuits. Dust with icing sugar to finish.

Tips/Techniques

For this recipe you will need a piping bag, a medium star nozzle, a large star nozzle, 3 baking sheets. If your kitchen is warm and you have time you could try placing the whirls in the fridge for 15 minutes before baking. This will help them hold their shape while cooking.